Monday, May 14, 2012

Justin Taylor shared a list of Eight Reasons Why My Anxiety Is Pointless and Foolish. One commenter, Neil, wrote this:

Liberal Christian traditions understand this, but then water down the truth. There has to be a way for reformed pastors to get a grip on where their hurting church members are.
I responded:

I think you are onto something here. It’s somewhat helpful for people to simply be nice to depressed people so they get the idea that they are worth something. But it’s not deeply helpful because it doesn’t address the issue with truth. The fact is that Christians undergoing sanctification live in a tension between being so worthless we need Christ and being worth the blood of Christ. It’s like being a family of perpetual teenagers.

Depression among Christians feeds off of external and internal tracks of this pattern. Externally, the observation is that imperfect people strut around like they are perfect while internally, one may be burdened with excessive morbidity recognizing that it’s dishonest to pretend otherwise. The morbidity is exacerbated by the isolation of realizing (whether true, false or exaggerated) that others don’t understand this.

What is needed is a realistic understanding of our need for God, but also that God has called us to His service and will provide for that service with the gifts, abilities and opportunities that He has given us, including complimentary gifts that He has given others. If we are indeed inadequate, then it is realistic to recognize this. But it is also realistic to understand where God has gifted us whether He has provided immediately for the use of those gifts or not. One of the most therapeutic things to do is to get busy trying to plug those gifts in somewhere. At some point, one reaches a balance between being active in the Kingdom and having the time for necessary spiritual reflection through the scriptures without getting excessively morbid regarding one’s worthlessness.

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